MWC 2021 has been pushed back to late June

The new date gives the GSMA extra time to make a potentially tough decision.

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GSMA chief executive officer John Hoffman gives a press conference in Barcelona on September 23, 2020. - The Mobile World Congress has postponed the 2021 edition, initially scheduled for March, for the month of June. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO via Getty Images

The 2020 Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona was one of the first tech casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the February date canceled after much debate. The next event was scheduled for March of 2021, but that event has now been postponed, too. Instead, GSMA (the industry association behind MWC), has announced that the next conference will be held from June 28th to July 1st, 2021.

The group said it made the decision to ensure that the event would be safe despite COVID-19. As the pandemic has worn on, the March date started to seem much too ambitious and many doubted that it would come off.

GSMA is promising a “unique, unmissable experience” that will be supplemented by “virtual elements to complement the overwhelming demand to convene physically.” The group said that it worked with the city of Barcelona to gain full approval of the date, and said that it will revert to a “full annual cycle” of MWC events between Shanghai, Barcelona and LA.

It’s not yet clear, however, which exhibitors will attend in June. Many, including Sony, LG, Amazon, Intel, Facebook and Nokia had dropped out from MWC 2020 before it was even officially canceled. Whether they’ll return next year likely depends on how the pandemic goes over the next six months or so.

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